Selfie becomes 'Word of the Year'

Selfie becomes 'Word of the Year'

Let us put you in the picture – ’selfie’ has has been chosen as the word of 2013.

It is in the frame after beating terms such as ’twerk’, ’binge-watch’ and ’showrooming’.

The selfie – a self-picture – has grown in popularity over recent months as millions of people, including celebrities and even the Pope, have posted them online.

One of the most famous selfies this year was the Pope posing with teenagers at the Vatican. The picture went viral on social media and was widely speculated as being the first ever “Papal selfie”.

An eye-brow raising selfie was taken by Samantha Cameron’s sister on the morning of her wedding day, revealing David Cameron napping on a four-poster bed in the background.

And selfies hit the headlines this week when a woman from Plymouth claimed that a burglar had broken into her flat and taken a selfie on her phone. The woman subsequently realised she had invited the man in for coffee.

Oxford Dictionaries said the earliest known usage is an Australian online forum post from 2002: “Um, drunk at a mates 21st, I tripped ofer and landed lip first (with front teeth coming a very close second) on a set of steps. I had a hole about 1cm long right through my bottom lip. And sorry about the focus, it was a selfie.”

A number of spin-off terms are also in circulation, such as helfie (a picture of someone’s hair), belfie (a picture of someone’s behind), welfie (a picture of someone working out) and drelfie (a drunken selfie).

Judy Pearsall, editorial director for Oxford Dictionaries, said: “Using the Oxford Dictionaries language research programme, we can see a phenomenal upward trend in the use of selfie in 2013, and this helped to cement its selection as Word of the Year.”

She added: “Social media sites helped to popularise the term, with the hashtag £selfie appearing on the photo-sharing website Flickr as early as 2004, but usage wasn’t widespread until around 2012, when selfie was being used commonly in mainstream media sources.”

The frequency of the word selfie in the English language has increased by 17,000% since this time last year, according to research conducted by Oxford Dictionaries editors.

This figure is calculated by Oxford Dictionaries using a research programme which collects around 150 million English words currently in use from around the web each month.

This software can be used to track the emergence of new words and monitor changes in geography, register, and frequency of use.

Selfie has not yet been added to the Oxford English Dictionary, although it is being considered for future inclusion.

The shortlist for Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2013 included binge-watch (to watch multiple episodes of a television programme in rapid succession), showrooming (the practice of examining a product at a shop before buying it online at a lower price) and twerk (dancing in a sexually provocative manner by thrusting hip movements and adopting a low, squatting stance).

More in this Section

Protestors killed in Baghdad as clashes continueProtestors killed in Baghdad as clashes continue

Jail for man who threatened MP with letter saying ‘you are next’Jail for man who threatened MP with letter saying ‘you are next’

Climate activist Greta Thunberg sets sail once againClimate activist Greta Thunberg sets sail once again

Ousted ambassador tells impeachment hearing her removal helped ‘shady interests’Ousted ambassador tells impeachment hearing her removal helped ‘shady interests’


Lifestyle

The founders of Rixo are on a mission to make the brand more affordable and more wearable, writes Vickie Maye.The dynamic duo behind Rixo aiming to make the brand more affordable and wearable

Want to get away to the sun this Christmas? Ciara McDonnell has all the last-minute deals.Last-minute sunshine getaways for Christmas

A new initiative honours teachers who have inspired their pupils, says Rowena Walsh.Why inspirational teachers stay with you for life

IT’S that time of year again as artists, canvases in tow, start to crisscross county borders across Munster and beyond.Art events to put Christmas gift-hunting in the frame

More From The Irish Examiner